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The [Thursday] Papers

"I've been watching with more than a little interest the controversial statements about Israel and the Israel lobby by Ilhan Omar, a freshman Democratic congresswoman from the Fifth District of Minnesota, because it turns out that we have a lot in common - up to a point," Thomas Friedman writes for the New York Times.

"The first thing we have in common is that I was raised in the Fifth District of Minnesota, specifically the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. I lived there until I was 20. It was a freaky place - a crazy mix of Minnesota Jews (we called ourselves 'the Frozen Chosen'') and Scandinavians that produced a uniquely tolerant civic culture and an interesting group of neighbors: Al Franken, the Coen brothers, Peggy Orenstein, Norm Ornstein, Michael Sandel, Sharon Isbin, Marc Trestman and lots of others you can find on the St. Louis Park Wikipedia page. Our little town was immortalized in the Coen brothers' 2009 movie A Serious Man.''

My uncle, Jim, was a Republican who represented a liberal St. Louis Park district in the Minnesota legislature for six terms. When he finally lost his seat in 2004, AP described him as "part of a shrinking group of moderate voices at the Capitol."

As I recall, he was able to win in a district more liberal than he was because voters knew him so well from his decades of public service, from park board to school board and even playing saxophone in the community band.

The main thing he and I agreed on was not delivering tax subsidies to sports teams to build their stadiums, arenas and ballparks. He was also liberal on social issues, supporting gay rights, for example.


The most well-known Jewish deli in the Twin Cities back then was the Lincoln Del. (I always wondered about the name: The Abraham Lincoln Del?) At one time, there were three locations. One, not the original but the largest, was in my hometown of Bloomington, Minnesota. My parents became friends with the owner, Danny Berenberg, who inherited the operation (and expanded it greatly) from his father, Morrie. In high school, I began working there after school, along with my job in the Minnesota North Stars' public relations department. (I had previously worked on a Supervalu factory line filling plastic bags with chocolate stars, and surveying folks over the phone about all manner of products for a consumer research company.)

At the Del, I worked in the back office - well, back in the stockroom, which was managed by a guy who looked a bit like this and got to wear really cool blue jumpsuits - performing such tasks as sticking address labels on advertising mailers and whatever other odd jobs came up.

Most jobs, though, required more than one person, so I would assemble work crews from my group of friends according to what was needed. (Mike, from Wednesday's column, was one of those friends - probably the best, smartest worker!)

Obviously, we participated in our fair share of hijinks. We also got a free meal every day, and our thing was the French dip. The key, as Mike recalled Tuesday night, was absorbing just the right amount of au jus with each bite to leave no trace left at the end of the sandwich - without running out before the last bite. We were French dip nerds.

One of those years in the early 1980s, I can't recall which one, Danny Berenberg started a charity 5K race called the Kaiser Roll. The race included wheelchair athletes, which I don't think was common at the time.

On Tuesday night, again, described in Wednesday's column, Chris, who was from Hopkins, mentioned that he had run in a race in Bloomington called the Kaiser Roll. Me and Mike lit up. "You know the cones you ran by that directed you in that race?" I basically yelled. "Those were laid down by us!"

Among our tasks when were dispatched from the stockroom to help out on the race: driving the course in a pick-up with another friend of ours - one driving, two in the back - placing the cones on the course. For some reason, maybe because of how the cones were "batched" together and had to be pried apart before placed, we would yell "Batch it!" each time we laid one down. We were probably driving faster than we should've been doing that job.

What does this have to do with Thomas Friedman? Well, guess who paid for young Tom to go to college? Morrie Berenberg. Friedman's mother was the Del's bookkeeper, and when her husband - Tom's father - died, Morrie stepped in.


The Lincoln Dels are no more. Danny pulled up stakes awhile ago now and lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

I went on to the University of Minnesota, where I eventually worked in the sports information department before finally landing at The Minnesota Daily. I helped Chris get a job in SID, too, and once again I found myself assembling work crews amongst my friends for various tasks associated with sporting events, like getting guys to "pull cable" behind TV camera operators, or work in press boxes as "spotters," helping broadcasters identify, say, which player made the tackle. If I recall correctly, one of our friends was asked to grab a broadcaster a hot dog and, instead of just walking down the press box to the food area, he left the press box and went into the actual arena, stood in line, and paid for the food out of his own pocket. We didn't call ourselves the Knuckleheads for nothing.

Another time, another friend appeared to cause a press box blackout by plugging Brent Musburger's teapot into the wrong electrical outlet - or something like that. All I know for sure is that Brent Musburger, his tea and a blackout were involved.

I also remember quite often dying of internal laughter as I surveyed a football field or basketball court on a given night and saw, as I used to say, "a Knucklehead in every corner" working the game one way or another. And usually badly. It was the best.


Adding . . .

Chris posted this on Facebook this afternoon. That's him standing on the left - with a Kaiser Roll t-shirt! This is one of our college softball teams. See if you can find me.


New on the Beachwood today . . .

Melted Cheese Tops Wisconsin Championship
The nation's largest cheese, butter and yogurt competition started Tuesday in Green Bay, with more entrants than ever.



Should I bring my car to Chicago? from r/chicago





WBKB Channel 7, Chicago Report, Midnight with Art Hellyer (Complete Broadcast, 8/15/1964).



Leaving Neverland Deepens Shadow Over 2003 Michael Jackson Interview.


We Appreciate It Very Much, Tim Apple.


A sampling.



A good question particularly in light of a) Toni Preckwinkle's accusation that Lori Lightfoot secured Scott Waguespack's endorsement in exchange for the finance committee chairmanship; and b) Preckwinkle's support of aldermanic privilege and securing of Ald. Walter Burnett's endorsement, both moves of the highest hacky nature. Also, how has Preckwinkle run the county board? That's almost assuredly how she'll run the city council, if elected mayor.

On the other hand, Sposato and Napolitano aren't anything for a progressive to be proud of.






The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Medium rare.


Posted on March 7, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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